Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Catching Up...

Wow. I hadn't realized how long it had been since I last posted. Don't read anything into that regarding the post about the incredible experience at the Third Day concert. It was awesome and moving.

A lot of things have changed in the last 3 weeks.

I voluntarily changed jobs at the end of February. That might not sound like much. There are people changing jobs right now.

I know I'm not unique. I'm special, of course (just ask my Mom), but I'm not unique. The organization I was with was a company that I was apart of building from the ground up. I wasn't an owner, but I was the first paid employee of the company. There were 5 of us eight years ago. We didn't have a product yet and we didn't have paying customers. We had an idea, experience, brains, and sheer force of will.

I won't say that I was the driving force behind the companies success over the course of the past 8 years, but I was in there busting my tail and doing what it took. I was in the thick of things and really making a name for myself. The company had about 5 customers in the first 6 months and will have over 200,000 customers at the end of this year. This organization went from 5 associates to over 400, and is still growing.

I got to be pretty proud of myself based on the success of the company, the accolades it drew, the success path it was on, and knowing that I was there on the ground floor. What a great guy I was!

Then, my position began to slip. I was less influential. I wasn't involved in as many "important" things anymore. I felt like the old football hero who is too old to play anymore and everyone always smiles wistfully remembering bygone days. After some time spent obsessing about this, I came across something that Charles Swindoll wrote in his character study of Moses in Great Days with the Great Lives:
What are those resistant layers in our hearts, and how does He break through to that hidden part? First, He finds pride. And He uses the sandpaper of obscurity to remove it ever so gradually.

Then He finds us gripped by fear---dread of our past, anxiety over our present, and terror over what may lie ahead---and He uses the passing of time to remove that fear. We learn that things aren't out of hand at all; they're in His hand.

He next encounters the barrier of resentment---the tyranny of bitterness. He breaks down that layer with solitude. In the silence of His presence, we gain a fresh perspective, gradually release our cherished rights, and let go of the expectations that held us hostage.

Finally, He gets down to the basic habits of living, he penetrates our inner person, and there He brings discomfort and hardship to buff away that last layer of resistance. Why? So that He might renovate us at the very core of our being.

It was then that I realized that, even though the situation wasn't in my control, it was definitely in control. It was in God's control all along. I recognized that feeling of the "sandpaper of obscurity" and welcomed the "passing of time."

I'm working at a new place, still in Charleston thankfully. It has great potential. Not potential to be the next huge business success like Google, etc. But potential to help me see what God has planned for me and to get past the barriers within me and let Him loose in all parts of my life.

I once believed that I was defined by my job, my position, my company, and my success. I'm learning more and more that:
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. (1 Cor 15:10, NIV)

So I pray for the will of God to be revealed to me. I pray for his strength and wisdom to show me the right paths. And I pray that, in all I do, that God is glorified.

Things are looking up...

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Love Song

By now you might have guessed that I'm a Third Day fan. On Thursday night, they opened their 2008 tour with a concert here at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center. I don't know how many people it holds, but it was full. (Update: here's what the band had to say about the Charleston show.)

Revive, a band from Australia that really deserves some US airplay, Decemberadio, and Sanctus Real all performed before the boys from Third Day came out and played. And it was a great show from all four bands. Aside from being a great rock concert, it was an amazing night of praise and worship for our Lord.

As an encore, Mac Powell and Mark Lee (of Third Day) came out, sat down on a couple of stools, and performed "Love Song" acoustic. If you have never heard this song, you should immediately go to where ever you get your music and find it.

As Mac sang the first two verses, I felt the Holy Spirit moving throughout the theater. The first verse goes like this:
I've heard it said that a man would climb a mountain
Just to be with the one he loves
How many times has he broken that promise
It has never been done.
I've never climbed the highest mountain
But I walked the hill of calvary

Just to be with you, I'd do anything
There's no price I would not pay
Just to be with you, I'd give anything
I would give my life away.

And when Mac hit the bridge, it was like Jesus was talking directly to my heart and telling me the most beautiful story about His love for me:
I know that you don't understand
the fullness of My love
How I died upon the cross for your sins
And I know that you don't realize
how much that I gave you
But I promise, I would do it all again.

Just to be with you, I've done everything
There's no price I did not pay
Just to be with you, I gave everything
Yes, I gave my life away.

It's been a while since I have been that close and that personal with Jesus. I hadn't realized how much until Thursday night.

I know that Mac and the fellas would say that they are simply the vessels for God to work with and wouldn't take any credit. And I want to thank them for allowing themselves to be used by the Lord like that. They have been given very special talents and are a blessing to us all.

God Bless you, Third Day. We'll keep you and the other bands in our prayers as you travel and perform across the country.